Advancing Household Economic Security and Equity

To help advance household economic security and equity in New England, the Boston Fed conducts research to shed light on the causes and implications of household-level inequities. Disparities are evident across race-ethnicity, immigration status, gender, family structure, social class, and other characteristics. To varying degrees, they are a result of the accumulation of policies and practices that have proven to inhibit opportunities for some groups—including people of color, women, and those confronting generational poverty—who disproportionately encounter these barriers.

Our work focuses on a) promoting equitable access to quality jobs and wealth-building opportunities, so families can individually invest in their futures, and b) policies that enable investment in New Englanders collectively. The Boston Fed works in partnership with stakeholders in the communities of the First District to identify and advance changes in policy and practice to ensure that families have what they need to be financially secure and have fair access to economic opportunities regardless of what they look like, where they’re from, or who’s in their family. The Boston Fed also assesses the impact of our findings on our approach to achieving maximum sustainable employment.

Our current priorities for research and strategies in this area include:

  • Enhancing our understanding of wealth inequities in the region and the implications for household economic security. The research in this area documents the nature and extent of disparities, examines the causes of these differences, and considers the role of policies and practices in maintaining, eroding, or exacerbating inequities, to help identify and propose strategies for reducing the gaps. As part of this work, we are launching a multiyear research initiative to explore wealth disparities in Greater Boston and across Massachusetts, in partnership with a coalition of community stakeholders. Our goals for this multiphase effort include measuring regional family wealth, exploring wealth differences between racial-ethnic groups, and understanding why certain disparities exist.
  • Examining the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across the region, including on service workers, access to health insurance and paid sick leave, and use of public benefits including unemployment insurance and food stamps (SNAP).